A week after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked women ministers of his government to gather opinion of Muslim women on the issue of triple talaq through social organisations that would be placed before the apex court, the exercise formally began in Lucknow on Wednesday. While many social activists refused to accept the recommendations of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board made in Lucknow saying that the board cannot act like “khap panchayats”, they also pointed out that social boycott was not the solution to triple talaq.
These organisations also asked the government to take up the issue of education and social security of Muslim women along with merely taking opinion on triple talaq. Representatives of telecom companies were also called to the meeting to take their suggestions regarding use of technology for conducting the survey in this regard and more such meetings are expected before the questionnaire and survey is given final shape.
“The exercise should not be seen as an interference in personal law. We are addressing the issue of equal rights of women, assuring them that wherever their rights would be suppressed, we would stand by them,” said Rita Bahuguna Joshi, adding that women alleged that the 5 crore signatures being claimed by AIMPLB in support of non-interference into personal law were based on vague questions like whether one supports the Shariat law or not, and whether one supports the Muslim Personal Law Board or not.
“We would also take up long-term issues about social security of women, and the working group would sit for more hours to finalise step-by-step procedure to be adopted in this regard,” added Joshi. Social activists, who participated in the meet, were more aggressive in their demands, citing that such provisions had been abolished even in countries like Pakistan, Morocco, Indonesia and even Saudi Arabia.
“Shariat and Shariat law should not be confused. While Shariat is mention in the Quran, Shariat law is man-made by people based on their interpretation. There are several countries, including our neighbours like Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia, where such law does not exist. So why in India?” said Naish Hasan, a social activist working on Muslim women rights.
Shaista Ambar, the president of All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board who was also attended the meeting, said, “The AIMPLB should not act like some khap panchayat. They have no right to force their decisions or recommendations on anyone. It is the decision of the court and the Parliament, which is finally accepted. Moreover, in the name of defending the law, three months counseling period mentioned in the Shariat cannot be overlooked.”